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ASTRO Gaming & US Army ends sponsorship of Call of Duty League amid lawsuit controversy

The Call of Duty League has lost one of its long time sponsors just before the biggest CDL event of the year.

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Activision Blizzard Esports division appears to be taking the biggest impact from external partners over the harassment lawsuit with sponsors opting out of partnerships with the Call of Duty League and Overwatch League.

The latest sponsor to end its relations with the Call of Duty League is ASTRO Gaming (and now U.S Army).

ASTRO Gaming’s logo has vanished from the Call of Duty League site, alongside the U.S Army logo. These two logos used to appear to the left of ZENNI Gaming’s logos.

Here’s a look at the new sponsorship strip section on the CDL site, with ZENNI Gaming, SCUF, Game Fuel, and USAA still partners.

Update August 13 – 1PM ET: After we posted this article, the logo sponsorship section on the Call of Duty League site was updated again to remove the U.S Army logo. The CDL now has only four sponsors left as CDL Champs approaches.

ASTRO Gaming was a long time sponsor of Call of Duty esports, dating back to its early days. The company was the official headset sponsor of the Call of Duty League and Call of Duty Challengers.

Per Activision’s initial announcement of the CDL back in 2020, ASTRO Gaming “extends its sponsorship of Call of Duty esports through the 2022 season.”

Instead, the sponsorship has ended just before the CDL’s biggest event of the year, Call of Duty League Championship. The Championship event will take place August 19 – 22 at the Galen Center in LA.

The U.S Army started its sponsorship of the CDL with the inaugural season in 2020. The U.S Army was the presenting sponsor of all schedule related assets on the CDL site.

Their logo has now been completely removed from the site.

Activision Blizzard has declined to comment.

ASTRO had in broadcast segments for the Call of Duty League including the main ASTRO Gaming Listen In, allowing fans to hear team comms during intense moments of matches.

ASTRO also was the presenting sponsor of the Call of Duty League MVP Award, which was awarded at the end of the Champs event. Since the partnership has ended, as early as this week, the CDL’s site MVP page no longer shows the ASTRO Gaming logo.

The site before August 10th:

The site as it appears now, available to view here:

ASTRO & US Army are the latest two sponsors of the Call of Duty League to drop, after T-Mobile distanced themselves a few weeks back.

ASTRO Gaming partnered with the CDL to sell custom-designed CDL team headsets on their website. That collection has been deleted from the site.

The Call of Duty League is not the only Activision Blizzard league facing backlash. The company’s Overwatch League has lost 5 sponsors over the last two weeks, including Coca Cola, State Farm, IBM, Kellogs, and more.

The sponsorship drops comes as Activision Blizzard is being sued by the state of California for sexual harassment and diversity in-equality across the company, with many instances coming out of Blizzard’s side.

Activision Blizzard responded to the suit with Blizzard President J. Allen Brack resigning and putting Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra as co-leaders of Blizzard.

The company still faces immense pressure from employees to change some of the practices, like removal of attribution clauses and changes to the law firm that is investigating the allegations at the company. So far, Activision Blizzard executives have not met their demands.

We’ll continue to keep everyone updated as more information on the lawsuit and sponsorships happen.

Activision

Will Call of Duty stay on PlayStation after Microsoft’s Activision buyout?

PlayStation fans may have some questions regarding the new Xbox acquisition, including whether Call of Duty will be on the platform.

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activision blizzard call of duty playstation

After the huge news about Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, PlayStation players are wondering what will happen with future Call of Duty releases.

Since the news broke about Microsoft’s purchase of Activision, the gaming community has gone crazy worldwide. The deal is arguably the biggest acquisition in gaming history and was even worth more than Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars franchise (Lucasfilms).

The deal has a lot of question marks surrounding it at the moment, but for those PlayStation users who are confused as to what it means for Call of Duty on the platform, here’s all the information you need.

Activision blizzard logo

The deal involves games under Activision and Activision Blizzard, which subsequently means Xbox will own Call of Duty.

This took the community by surprise when it was announced and naturally, a lot of people had questions.

For example, Call of Duty have had a close relationship with PlayStation for some years now, giving them exclusive/early access to content, so what will happen after the deal goes through?

Will Call of Duty still be on PlayStation?

Xbox’s Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft gaming, confirmed in a statement to Bloomberg that the purchase was not intended for pulling players away from Sony’s consoles, giving PS players hope that things won’t change in terms of Call of Duty’s availability on the platform.

Nothing is confirmed regarding the deal, as the companies will remain independent from each other until 2023. This means that Call of Duty 2022 will likely retain a lot of the PlayStation exclusivity deals that have been around and PS players won’t have to worry about losing content to Xbox.

It wouldn’t be wise for Microsoft to pull Call of Duty games from PlayStation, as the franchise remains the best-selling game on PlayStation platforms in the U.S. and has been for years, with Vanguard recently topping the charts for 2021.

What can be said however, is that exclusivity deals may shift from PlayStation to Xbox after the deal is closed. Call of Duty games may even be seen on the Xbox Game Pass on release, but this is all still just speculation.


So, there you have it, Call of Duty will likely remain on PlayStation platforms but the exclusive content may shift over to Xbox and PC. For more, check out every Warzone weapon ranked.

Image Credits: PlayStation / Xbox / Microsoft / Activision / Retail Tracking Service / The NDP Group

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Microsoft to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard

Microsoft have officially announced that they have acquired Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard in a deal costing nearly $70 billion.

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Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard

Microsoft has announced that they’re set to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard in a deal nearing $70 billion.

Xbox owner Microsoft has announced that they’re taking over Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.

Microsoft said on January 18, 2022, that they’re acquiring Activision, Blizzard, and King for nearly $70 billion to “bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device.” They’ve also announced plans to bring Activision Blizzard titles to Xbox Game Pass in the future.

Activision Blizzard logo

In a post on the Xbox website, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said that “we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog.”

And not only that, they said that “Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy the most-immersive franchises, like “Halo” and “Warcraft,” virtually anywhere they want.” We’ll need to wait and see how involved Activision Blizzard will be with Microsoft’s franchises such as Halo.

Activision currently have a partnership with Sony, giving Call of Duty players on PlayStation exclusive cosmetics, Double XP events, and more. With Activision moving to Microsoft, the Sony deal will presumably end.

But, it’s unlikely that Call of Duty will become Xbox and PC exclusive, as Microsoft said: “Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.”

The deal will cost Microsoft “$95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion,” which makes it “the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.”

Phil Spencer said that “until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently.” Current CEO Bobby Kotick will remain in charge, but once the deal, which is set to close in the fiscal year 2023, is completed, Activision Blizzard will report to Spencer.

Activision Blizzard is currently being investigated by the SEC over sexual misconduct and discrimination allegations. Phil Spencer announced, “Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players” and said that “We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment.”

This is a developing story, so we’re likely to know more about the deal in the coming months.

Image Credit: Activision / Microsoft

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Activision files lawsuit against notable cheat provider EngineOwning

Activision has filed a lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of Warzone’s most prolific cheat and hack distributors.

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Warzone player running and a judge's gavel

Activision have made a new attempt to stamp out cheat providers, filing a lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of the most prolific distributors of hacks.

Cheating is a major issue in Warzone and despite the introduction of the RICOCHET anti-cheat system, hacking is still running wild on Caldera. In fact, these cheaters are so brazen, they’ve started to actively mock developers Raven with their in-game names.

It should come as no surprise that Activision are trying to shut down these cheaters for good, and the publishers of Call of Duty have once again filed a lawsuit against a site that distributes these hacks.

Warzone Pacific Sniper Rifle

In a suit filed in the State of California on January 4, Activision took aim at EngineOwning, claiming that their cheats have caused “millions of dollars” in damages, and that they are “developing new cheating software” for another of their titles in Overwatch.

Activision is seeking “to put a stop to unlawful conduct by an organization that is distributing and selling for profit numerous malicious software products designed to enable members of the public to gain unfair advantages.”

“These ongoing activities damage Activision’s games, its overall business, and the experience of the CoD player community,” it continues. “This Court must put a stop to [the] defendants’ misconduct, and Activision is entitled to monetary damages, injuctive and other equitable relief, and punitive damages.”

Operators fighting in Warzone Pacific

EngineOwning is one of the largest cheat providers for Call of Duty right now, with the cheat provider continuously attempting to circumvent Activision’s anti-cheat efforts. EngineOwning’s next steps are unclear, and it remains to be seen whether the operation, which is allegedly maintained by an individual in Germany, is shut down.

Activision has made efforts as of December to stop hackers in Call of Duty with the launch of RICOCHET Anti-Cheat software, including a PC kernel-level driver for Warzone.

This system has had successes, with 48,000 cheaters banned in December, leaving hackers begging Activision for a second chance.

Image Credits: Activision / Raven Software / Ekaterina Bolovtsova: Pexels

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